ImmunityEd is a system designed to increase vaccination rates in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It includes a physical folder to be given to parents at the first well-child visit as well as a mobile application. While the physical folder servers as a practical keepsake for important documents and impetus to download the application, the application itself serves as a comprehensive resource for immunization information and appointment reminders. For this project I was primarily responsible for the mobile application information architecture, mockups, and prototypes using LucidChart, Balsamiq, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Invision. Another team member was primarily responsible for research, the development of the physical folder, and our proposal presentation.
The original aim of this project was to increase HPV immunization rates, rather than immunization rates in general, in Allegheny County. Deciding to focus on increasing immunization rates in the county more broadly arose from several weeks of research and concept development.
After an initial meeting with a representative from the Allegheny County Health Department, my team dove into research. Drawing widely, we looked at recent articles regarding vaccination rates in general, HPV specific research, public health campaigns, decision science, as well as information about Allegheny County specifically and other initiatives undertaken by the Health Department.
In addition to reading widely from a variety of sources and fields, we created a survey to send out to parents to better understand existing attitudes towards vaccination rates in general. We also reached out to our networks to interview parents to get a deeper understanding of how parents make immunization choices for their children.
In tandem to our research efforts, we also continually iterated upon concepts. Our initial concepts focused on targeting HPV specifically through a video or text-message reminder system. However, as we learned more from our anecdotal interview and survey responses and traditional research, we realized that focusing on HPV specifically would draw unnecessary negative attention to that immunization in particular. Parents seemed to want knowledge about all vaccines, not just HPV in particular, and an easier way to keep track of their child's immunization schedule. Moreover, while most parents did get information from social media, their most trusted information source was their child's pediatrician.
Based on this insight, we decide to pivot to a long-term solution that would target immunization rates in general, thereby normalizing the HPV vaccine. We decided a mobile application would be the best format for providing parents comprehensive information as well as appointment reminders. However, in order to impart the authority of the application, we knew it would have to be recommended by a parent's chosen pediatrician. In order to do so, we designed a physical folder that a pediatrician would give to a parent on their first well-child visit (within the first few days of the child being born). We designed the folder to incorporate the immunization schedule as well as information about how to download the application.
After running past this concept by the Allegheny County Health Department representative that was working with us, we dove deeper into development. While initially we thought including additional information about well-child visits in general would increase the value of the application, we realized that it would contribute to information overload. We streamlined the information of the application to focus on immunizations. Beyond immunization information, we focused on three other core functions of the application: individual immunization records and reminders, an immunization-specific newsfeed, and a community group database.
By providing an ability for parents to track their child's immunization history, the application would serve as a digital backup of the physical schedule on the folder. Moreover, this data would automatically provide the information needed to remind parents when their child was due for another immunization.
In an effort to challenge harmful nonscientific information shared on social media newsfeeds, we designed our newsfeed to be curated by an Allegheny County Health Department official in order to provide an authoritative source on immunization updates. This newsfeed would be a one-stop source of information that parents could trust.
In addition to the newsfeed, we designed a "connect" feature that would serve as a portal for parents seeking support from other parents. Parents would be able to search by district to see existing groups in the area, and contact each group accordingly.
By providing parents with trustworthy information and resources as well as practical reminders and record-keeping tools, ImmunityEd makes it easier for parents to make a confident choice to vaccinate their children. Below is a prototype of the application, created with Invision, which we presented as part of our final proposal.